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Royal Wedding [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Sarah Churchill, Keenan Wynn
  • Directors: Stanley Donen
  • Writers: Alan Jay Lerner
  • Producers: Arthur Freed
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Sanctuary
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Mar. 2001
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059RFY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,278 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Fred Astaire and Jane Powell star as Tom and Ellen Bowen, a brother and sister vaudeville team who take their act to London during the run-up to the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Phillip Mountbatten. Of course, with the sound of wedding bells in the air, it's not long before Tom and Ellen find romance themselves: Tom meeting dancer Anne Ashmond (Sarah Churchill, daughter of Sir Winston) and Ellen falling for the aristocratic Lord John Brindale (Peter Lawford). Includes the duet 'How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life?' and the famous routine where Astaire dances on the ceiling.


Fred Astaire dances on the ceiling in this 1951 Alan Jay Lerner musical for MGM, directed by Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain). The appealing story finds Astaire as part of a brother-and-sister act (along with Jane Powell) that travels to London at the time of Queen Elizabeth II's wedding. Astaire and Powell each find romances that threaten to break up the act, but that's mostly fun window dressing in a movie better known for some truly creative sequences made vivid by Donen, including Astaire's famous dance with a hat rack and his duet with Powell, "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You (When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life)?" --Tom Keogh, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By I. Tucker on 21 Jan. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The other review on here is right - except that it's a huge understatement. The transfer to Dvd has been bungled beyond belief. Both the picture and sound are TRULY awful. I bought this because the famous 'dancing on the ceiling' part was featured on the Disc 2 extras of 'Singin in the Rain', and i was entranced by Astaire's dancing. On THAT disc, the quality was fine - so there was obviously no reason for it to be bad on this one. However, it is, and Elstree Hill Entertainment (whoever they are!) should be ashamed of this lacklustre transfer. Maybe when it's been remastered, i'll buy it. Until then, this goes straight back. Oh by the way, in addition to the poor quality throughout, the disc actually failed to play in several sections and froze up - at times the picture was completely pixelated. Need i say more?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 July 2007
Format: DVD
This disc is welcome news for Astaire fans. It resurrects two films which which have many pleasant moments and contain three outstanding musical numbers. Belle of New York, the movie which spends more time with Astaire dancing than any of his other movies, has been long unavailable except for an out-of-print VHS tape. Royal Wedding has been all too available in uniformly execrable public domain releases.

This was one of Astaire's few critical and box office losers. The flaws, in hindsight, are obvious. The New York playboy Astaire plays is charming but an emotional light-weight. He finds love eventually and he never loses his charm. Still, he's a shallow guy. The Salvation Army-type lass he falls in love with is played by Vera-Ellen, who was always perky and a supremely proficient dancer. Still, there's something chilly, to my mind, about her dancing. She can do any step Astaire does, but does it with little spontaneity. The smile on her face while she dances never changes. The comedy relief doesn't seem very amusing. The story serves merely as a quick bridge between extended musical numbers. I don't mind this at all, but it does make the story seem like an afterthought.

But the good things are fine. The 1880's Currier and Ives look is warm and charming. The Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer songs are easy to listen to. Most of all, there is Astaire and his dancing. The film features, I think I got this right, eight musical sequences, most of them major productions. Astaire is in all but one. The highlights for me are:

--"Baby Doll," a sweet. wooing number sung by Astaire to Vera-Ellen and then danced in a relaxed and easy-going style by the two.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Sept. 2001
Format: DVD
No need to say much about the movie itself. This is Fred Astaire at his best singing and dancing. A true classic. Every home should have one. The dancing sequences alone, including the one Astaire dances on cieling and walls, are worth watching again and again.
The movie has indeed been released for home use under various formats over the years. To my knowledge, this is its first DVD release, which unfortunately is most disappointing in term of both sound and picture quality.
The sound is lacklustre and among the poorest quality I have ever heard on a DVD; and this despite the Dolby Digital logo on the cover.
But the real problem with this DVD is its picture quality, which is unacceptably poor, considering the potentials of the format. Compare this to other DVDs or other versions of the films and you will see it from the first minute to the last. Any decent VHS cassette will score FAR better than this DVD in term of picture quality. My laserdisc version of the film, for instance, looks sharp and bright, with near perfect resolution, after comparison.
The only consolation on this DVD, perhaps, is the bonus on how the "cieling dance" sequence was filmed. There is nothing new for a real Astaire fan to learn about here, but at least the filming is clearly explained and illustrated. But is this alone worth the price of the disc?
In short, this is a release that simply fails to do justice to both a great film and a great home movie format that is the DVD.
Those of you lucky enough to have the laserdisc version should stick to it and treasure it so dearly, for who knows when another DVD version (worthy of the name) will come along.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By NormaE on 21 Mar. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's clear from reviews posted on here that many fans of Astaire's "Royal Wedding" have been disappointed and frustrated following the purchase of one of a number of third rate copies of the film which found their way on to the market following the lapse of copyright. Having viewed two or three of them, I shared in this frustration at the extremely poor reproduction of both picture and sound, and therefore offer a huge vote of thanks to Warner Bros for rescuing this neglected gem and restoring it to its former glory.
"Royal Wedding" is indeed a little gem from later in the legendary Astaire's career, and teams him (for the only time, I think) with Jane Powell, of "Seven Brides..." fame. For me, this teaming is a revelation, and Powell partners Astaire in some wonderfully witty and energetic song and dance numbers, such as the hilarious "How Could You Believe Me" and the sensational "I Left My Hat In Haiti", the latter providing a barnstorming riot of rhythm and colour as the film's musical finale.
Throw in an amusing script, some excellent comic support from Keenan Wynn and Albert Sharpe, a couple of great solos from the master Astaire, and quality songs from Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane, and you've got a quality picture from Astaire's MGM phase. It may just lack that little extra special something that set "Easter Parade" and "The Band Wagon" apart as stand out classics from Astaire's MGM years, but believe it, it's still pretty darn entertaining stuff!
Repeat: buy THIS edition of "Royal Wedding" which pairs it with "The Belle of New York", and NOT any of the other vastly inferior versions on offer!!!
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